Jaw or Temporomandibular Joint Disorders
In the past, my jaw has clicked and appears lopsided when I open my mouth. Recently, I noticed my jaw was rather stiff in the mornings and my muscles tend to ache when I chew my food. I fear my jaw may lock on me. Sometimes, I also suffer from headaches. Is this a serious condition?
Not all clicking sounds need to be treated. However, a worsening click, difficulty in opening the mouth and muscle pain may warrant a visit to the dentist.
- jaw pain (muscles and joint) on movement or after waking up
- clicking jaw joints
- difficulty in opening mouth
- jaw ‘stuck’ or locked and dislocated
- subconscious night grinding or clenching of teeth. Most patients who do so are usually unaware.
- emotional stress and anxiety
- extraction or trimming of the opposing tooth to reduce biting on the swollen gum
- bad jaw habits e.g. chewing on hard foods, chewing on one side
- poor teeth alignment leading to a bad bite
- systemic diseases e.g. arthritic disorders
- palpable pain on jaw muscles, joint and head
- limitation in mouth opening
- excessively worn, cracked teeth, fillings and prostheses
- X-ray may show bone changes. Magnetic Resonance Imaging may show position of displaced disc.
- questionnaires on medical and chronic pain history
- patient education and reduction of jaw use
- splints fitted over teeth to reduce further damage
- counselling sessions
- heat and ultrasound physiotherapy
- arthrocentesis – jaw joint manipulation
- arthroscopy – jaw joint surgery aided by miniature camera
- occlusal rehabilitation to stabilise jaw function